Macanudo Big Drive winner gets smokin’ new ride

Robert Cowan

Macanudo®, America’s best-selling premium cigar, announces today that Robert Cowan of Commack, NY has won the grand prize in the brand’s national “Big Drive” sweepstakes.

Robert, who entered into the contest by purchasing Macanudo cigars from, won a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro by choosing the key that opened the car. In winning the muscle car, Robert became the envy of fellow contestants who were randomly selected from online cigar retailers. They are: George Castellese, Sugar Grove, IL (Cigars International); David Nygaard, Astoria, OR, (Famous Smoke Shop); Jeff Diedrich, Frisco, TX (Mike’s Cigars); Brij Patel, Marietta, GA (Best Cigar Prices); Fred Steinberg, Boca Raton, FL (Thompson Cigar). Gustavo Rosales, Ft. Lauderdale, FL was randomly selected through online entries to

The Camaro boasts an array of amenities and enough horsepower to leave other hotrods in the dust.

Gus Martinez, director of marketing for Macanudo said, “The Macanudo Big Drive sweepstakes brings together two great passions, cigars and muscle cars, and has given us the opportunity to deliver an unparalleled VIP experience. For these devoted Macanudo fans who enjoy cars as much as they enjoy their cigars, this trip is one they’ll never forget.”

Robert looks forward to taking the smokin’ hot muscle car for a celebratory spin when he returns to Commack, NY. He said, “I always smoke Macanudo during special occasions, so I’m lighting up one now to celebrate my victory and will definitely do so again when the car gets delivered to me in Long Island.”

As part of the Big Drive sweepstakes, the contestants and their guests were treated to an all-expense paid weekend at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. While in Sin City, they were wined and dined by the Macanudo brand team, and savored Macanudos at cigar-friendly hotspots in Vegas.

For additional photos of the Macanudo Big Drive contest, please visit the brand’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

About Macanudo Cigars

Since their introduction in 1968, Macanudo cigars have been a favorite among premium cigar connoisseurs. The brand continues to be the best selling premium cigar brand in the U.S. and also sells in more than 90 countries worldwide.  In addition to the base brand of Macanudo cigars, the brand also features these collections: Macanudo Maduro, Macanudo Robust, Macanudo Gold Label, Macanudo Vintage, Macanudo 1968 and Macanudo Estate Reserve.

About General Cigar Company

General Cigar Co. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit

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Drew Estate announces “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” premium handmade cigars


Drew Estate announced today their exclusive manufacturing agreement with Pappy & Company, as well as the new “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve”
premium handmade cigar. This new cigar will be produced at Drew Estate’s Estelí, Nicaragua factory and is being made in partnership with Pappy & Company. Pappy & Company is the family-owned merchandise division of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, producers of legendary whiskies including Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

The “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” cigar will be a long-filler, premium cigar made totally by hand in very small batches at Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua. This historic cigar features a robust Ecuadorian Habano Wrapper and well-aged Nicaraguan Filler tobaccos, personally selected by Drew Estate’s Co-Founder, Jonathan Drew. It is the perfect choice for pairing with any of the Van Winkle bourbon and rye products.

Speaking from the Pappy & Company headquarters in Louisville, KY, Carrie Van
Winkle, great granddaughter of the legendary Pappy Van Winkle, said that, “we’re extremely happy to be working with Drew Estate on this project, as both of our companies are known for their high quality, handmade products. When we
approached Drew Estate with the idea of working together on a premium cigar, we knew we’d made the right choice. The finished cigar is the perfect pairing for our family’s whiskeys, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.”
The strength level of the “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” cigar is “Medium
Plus,” which allows both new smokers and experienced aficionados to enjoy the
blend. “It’s a well rounded, sophisticated cigar, with body and a hearty expression,” says Jonathan Drew. “Drew Estate is known for passion and innovation, and making premium cigars is our ‘raison d’être’ [reason to be]. The ‘Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve’ premium cigar is truly a showcase of our passion for cigar-making.”

The partnership between the Van Winkle family and Drew Estate will allow people to experience a flavor combination that is unique, and one that will remain consistent through time. Drew Estate is respected for cigar and whiskey pairings, so when the time came to create the Pappy Van Winkle cigar blend, they knew exactly what they wanted to do; “exceptional” was an understatement.
The final blend is the perfect compliment to any Van Winkle spirit, but Drew Estate’s favorite match with the “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” cigar is the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. The spice notes from the rye bring out the pepper and graham cracker notes in the Pappy Van Winkle cigar.The cigars will be available for pre-order exclusively through the Pappy & Company
website starting November 7, 2014.

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Emilio Cigars releases Mia Dora

Mia dora
Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars announced today yet another addition to the ever-growing portfolio of cigars available through the House of Emilio.
Mia Dora is produced by AJ Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua and features an Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder.
The Robusto and Toro are available in 21 count boxes, and the Coronita comes in a 40 count box.  The boxes are embossed in gold, while the cigar bands feature a theme dedicated to the town of Ascoli Piceno in Italy, birthplace of the ancestors of the love of Griffith’s life, Dora.
Interested retailers should contact their House of Emilio sales representative for additional information.
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Cuban Tradtion Cigar Group announces the return of Counsellor Cigars


The Cuban Tradtion Cigar Group is pleased to announce the return of Counsellor Cigars as part of the Cuban Tradition Cigar Group portfolio. Counsellor Cigars has been a long established U.S. Cigar maker whose roots go back to 1894. T.L. Johnson Companies, LLC has registered the Counsellor Cigar brand trademark in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic. Production of all Counsellor Cigars will be handcrafted in Dominican Republic at Tabacalera LTC under the supervision
of Luis Sanchez and Terry Johnson utilizing tobaccos from their Dominican farming operations.
Sanchez and Johnson have plans to produce cigars in sizes from the original Counsellor Cigar Company, along with vintage designed packaging from their new venture, The Tobacco Franchise, a packaging design company based in Miami, Fl. Initial Counsellor Cigars will be small cigarillo style cigars that are all handmade as well as a new maduro cigar celebrating the re-introduction of the
Counsellor brand. Marketing of Counsellor Cigars and other joint venture brands between Sanchez and Johnson will come under the new Great Cigar Brands Group and distributed by T.L. Johnson Distributors, LLC . Counsellor Cigars will debut early 2015. Dealer inquiries can contact T.L. Johnson Distributors at 970-371-0211 for more information.

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Sindicato ships its newest cigar, the Sindicato Maduro

sindicato maduro

Sindicato Cigars has shipped its newest cigar, the Sindicato Maduro, which debuted at the 2014 IPCPR. The Sindicato Maduro will be arriving at hundreds of retailers across the United States within the week.

The new Sindicato Maduro is a square-pressed cigar with an unfinished foot and is crafted with a beautiful, San Andrés Morrón wrapper from Alberto and Alejandro Turrent. Master blender Arsenio Ramos has combined this wrapper with the finest tobaccos from the farms of Eduardo Fernandez in Estelí and Jalapa, Nicaragua. The combination of this magnificent dark wrapper with
a rich, bold Estelí double leaf binder, encompasses a blend of strong, flavorful Estelí and Jalapa leaves, which deliver a three quarter-full strength cigar with a unique taste.

On November 28th, 2014, Sindicato and hundreds of participating retailers will kickoff the holiday shopping season with a Black Friday Sales Event.

Consumers will be able to:
Buy 2 Sindicato Maduros and Get 1 of any Sindicato brand for FREE
(Hex, Affinity, or Sindicato)
Buy 3 Sindicato Maduros and Get 2 of any Sindicato brand for FREE.
(Hex, Affinity, or Sindicato)

*Limit 2 deals per customer.

The cigar is being released in four vitolas ranging in price between $11-14.

Robusto: 5 x 54, $11.50
Toro:  6 x 54, $11.95
Churchill: 7 x 52, $12.95
Magnum: 6 x 60, $13.95

Release Date: October 20, 2014
Wrapper: Mexican Marrón
Binder: Double Binder from Estelí, Nicaragua
Filler: Estelí & Jalapa, Nicaragua
Color: Oscuro
Strength: 4 of 5
Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos Vallé de Jalapa, S.A.
Blended: By Arsenio Ramos
Quantity Per Box: 16

About Sindicato Cigars
Sindicato is a cigar company that creates unique brands and premium handmade blends catering to the evolving tastes of our consumers. The company is led by a group of experts who have multiple decades of experience and are among the top minds in the cigar industry. They have come together to put tobacco retailers and consumers first, and to create brands and blends they know people will love. The company produces premium brands such as Sindicato, Sindicato Maduro, Affinity, Hex, Casa Bella, and Casa Bella Maduro. Based in Boca Raton, FL, Sindicato sells through hundreds of tobacco retailers throughout the United States.

For more information, please visit or join our social scene:

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Viva Republica announces limited-edition fundraising cigar

viva republica

Viva Republica, a premium handmade cigar manufacturer, and Operation: Cigars for Warriors, a nonprofit dedicated to serving U.S. military members serving  in combat zones, are pleased to announce a Veteran’s Day limited-edition release cigar that will be sold to benefit the charity.

The cigar will retail for $6, with all proceeds from the wholesale of the cigar to authorized retailers going directly to Operation: Cigars for Warriors. The limited edition run of 2,000 cigars is the first of its kind for Viva Republica and will ship to stores next week onVeteran’s Day, November 10th, 2014.

“For Veteran’s Day this year I wanted to do something for an organization that I truly believe in,” said Jason Holly, owner of Viva Republica. “The volunteers of Operation: Cigars for Warriors work tirelessly to get cigars to the men and women fighting for our country.”

Not only will this special run be a first for Viva Republica, it will be a first for Operation: Cigars for Warriors as well.  The proceeds from the sales of the cigars are expected to be the largest single cash donation in the nonprofit’s history.

“The support of Viva Republica could not have come at a better time,” said Storm Boen, Chairmen of the Board for Operation: Cigars for Warriors.  “Every month we have more requests from active duty troops than our all-volunteer organization can fill and the donation from the sale of Viva’s cigars will be used to defray our shipping costs when sending cigars to troops overseas.”

Retailers can order the cigars from Miami Cigar & Co., the exclusive American distributor of Viva Republica.

The cigar will measure 5 1/8 ” x 42” and is a medium-plus smoke. It was designed to be a smoke that is bold and flavorful.

“This release features a prototype Nicaraguan wrapper I have been working with,” said Holly.  “In terms of the blend, it’s a bit different style than the regular production portfolio.”

Viva Republica is a boutique premium handmade cigar manufacturer with all of its production being provided by La Aurora, S.A. Miami Cigar Co. serves as exclusive United States distributor.

Operation: Cigars for Warriors is a 501(C)(3) charity that focuses on collecting and dispersing premium cigars and accessories to American service men and women serving in combat zones.

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Cigar Dojo app announces loyalty & rewards program for cigar shops


Cigar Dojo, the social cigar app, is rolling out the all-new Loyalty & Rewards Program for brick & mortar cigar shops. With the Dojo’s huge install base and active community of cigar lovers, the new feature will take the Cigar Dojo app to a whole new level.

The Cigar Dojo Loyalty & Rewards Program is the 1st-ever viral cigar rewards program for brick and mortar cigar shops. With this new feature, users will be encouraged to purchase at their local cigar shop, incentivised by prizes that are completely customized by each and every shop in the program. As the customer earns points, they will create a viral “buzz” on social media for participating cigar shops. And best of all, the program runs itself. Cigar shop owners no longer need to create hand written notes to track rewards or purchase expensive point of sale equipment.

This is a huge win for both the customer and the retailer! Customers will enjoy the ease of use and social aspect of this new feature, while shops benefit not only from the simplicity, but also gain exposure with the first-of-its-kind viral component of the Cigar Dojo Loyalty and Rewards Program.

“Creating a viral loyalty & rewards program that benefits both the customer and the cigar shop was our goal and we believe we have created something very special.” stated Eric Guttormson, owner of the Cigar Dojo. He continued, “Not only does this new feature help shops retain and reward their loyal customers, but it helps bring in new customers as well. We are very excited and proud that we can help brick & mortar cigar shops strengthen their business.”

The Cigar Dojo app has an existing cigar shop locator built-in, but now with the Loyalty & Rewards feature, cigar shops can connect with their customers like never before. “This is just the beginning. We have huge plans for the new Loyalty & Rewards Program. We are already working on the next phase, which will allow shop owners their own online admin dashboard that will give them access to view trends and analytics regarding their loyalty program, as well as send messages to the people who are using the program. Just imagine how powerful that data will be for the shop owner. We are also planning to allow shop owners the option to tie the rewards program in with their existing point-of-sale machine for an even more robust system. We are committed to making this the best loyalty & rewards program – period,” stated Mr. Guttormson.

The Cigar Dojo is a free app that can be downloaded for iPhone or Android at their respective app stores.

The new feature is rolling out now and will cost a small annual fee for the shop owner. Cigar shops are encouraged to contact Cigar Dojo to have their shop set up for the program. More details on the program can be found at

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Black Abyss for JR Cigars; Cigar review

abyssThe Black Abyss is a brand-new handrolled premium cigar crafted by José “Jochy” Blanco for JR cigars. The cigar is handmade at Tabacalera Palma in the Dominican Republic.

Black Abyss is available in four vitolas: Banshee – (5 x 50), CERBERUS – (6 x 60), Hydra (6 x 52 (torpedo)) and Wraith – (6 x 52). The cigars are sold in boxes of 20.

I received one cigar of each size for review purposes from the manufacturer. I smoked all but the 6×60 for two reasons; 1) I really don’t care for that size and 2) I don’t think 6 x 60 is a good representation of a cigars blend.

The blend for the Black Abyss is comprised of a San Andres Maduro wrapper, a Coroji binder and a combination of Cuban Seed Criollo 98/Olor/Dominicano/Piloto Cubano fillers.

The Maduro wrapper is dark brown in color with minimal veins and visible seams. I picked up on aromas of sweet tobacco and hay from the wrapper and earthy, sweet aromas on the finished foot with slight amount of ammonia. The cigar had a smoothly applied cap and was firm to the touch.

I clipped the cap and gave the cigar a pre-light draw. There was some resistance to the draw and a raisin flavor from the filler tobaccos.

During the first third of the Black Abyss, I felt a strong peppery spice sensation in my sinuses during the exhale and mostly basic tobacco flavor with a slightly bitter finish on my palate.

While in the second third, the spice sensation remained the same and the tobacco flavors became stronger on my palate with a longer, lingering finish.

The final third of this cigar had a much stronger spice sensation that tingled my nose on the exhale. On my palate there were strong notes of pepper and tobacco that coated my palate. The finish was strong and lingering.

The cigar developed a firm, tight white ash that lasted a good 2 inches before falling off for the first time. The burn line was even with a thin carbon ring. The Black Abyss produced a good amount of satisfying smoke.

I would consider this cigar to be medium to full strength and full bodied. It had excellent qualities and flavors and I enjoyed the smoking experience. On a 100 point scale, I would rate this cigar as a 90.

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La Aurora 107 Maduro Lancero aka “Bow Tie”; Cigar review

bowtieThis week, I am reviewing the La Aurora 107 Maduro Lancero, nicknamed the “Bow Tie”. It is a regional release to the Southeast of the US. It was chosen by by Miami Cigar and named the Bow Tie because their Southeast rep, Austin Baker almost always wears a bowtie.

I received the samples for this review directly from Miami Cigar & Co.

The blend is comprised of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a Dominican Corojo binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler.

The CT Broadleaf wrapper is a dark brown in color, shows some veins and is rustic in appearance. I can smell a rich, sweet tobacco aroma from the wrapper and a sweet fruit scent from the finished foot of the cigar. The cap of the lancero sports a short pigtail. The cigar is firm to the touch.

The pre-light draw is firm and has a sweet fruit flavor as well.

I must admit that the La Aurora 107 is one of my favorite cigars and I was very much looking forward to smoking this maduro blend.

Once I light the cigar and take my first few puffs, I am immediately hit with a big peppery blast in my sinuses. In comparison, on my palate, there is mellow tobacco and a sweet flavor on my lips from the wrapper.

Moving into the second third of the cigar, the pepper sensation in my sinuses seems to mellow a bit but, it does linger for quite a bit. On my palate, in addition to the mellow tobacco, I pick up on some bitter chocolate notes.

The final third of the cigar seems to pull a 180 and I pick up on a mild, smooth sensation in my sinuses and sweetness with a faint peppery flavor on my palate.

The burn on this cigar was slightly scalloped but even. There was a thin carbon ring behind the tight, white ash. The ash dropped for the first time at around the 1 ½” mark. The cigar produced a good amount of smoke that had an aroma of dry hay.

I would classify the La Aurora Lancero Maduro as a medium to strong, full bodied cigar. My smoking experience with the cigar was excellent and very enjoyable.

On a 100 point scale I give this cigar a 92.

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Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars makes another bold move by hiring Jack Toraño

Duran logoRoberto Pelayo Duran is proud to announce that Jack Toraño of the Toraño cigar family will now oversee sales in Florida and the Caribbean for Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. This announcement comes only days after the announcement of the hiring of Miguel Shoedel and Frank Cuden.

Jack Toraño spent 3 years with Toraño Family Cigar Company as Director of Marketing until its acquisition by General Cigars.

Roberto Pelayo Duran said: “Jack Toraño was an integral part of Toraño Family Cigar Company and we are ecstatic to have him on board at Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar Company. Jack is very well known as he has travelled extensively and his popularity, charisma and four generations of tobacco heritage will go very far in helping us expand our brand.”

Jack Toraño said: “I wanted to take the time to find the company that matches my vision. I am excited to be working with Roberto Pelayo Duran who is as passionate about cigars as I am. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is truly a boutique cigar company which owns its tobacco fields and creates their own cigars. The fact that we will be involved in everything from tobacco field all the way to the valued customer is what brought me here. Roberto Duran is creating a stellar team and I am happy to call Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars my new home.

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and managedistribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

For more information about Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars, please visit

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